French and Riviera News Friday 27th November 2020


Easing of lockdown - Prime Minister Jean Castex has given details on the first phase of easing lockdown measures in France from tomorrow Saturday 28th November.

Firstly, all shops and services previously considered “non-essential” will reopen and be allowed to stay open until 9pm. Driving schools will be able to resume activity and estate agents will be allowed to carry out visits. Places of worship will reopen gradually with a limit of 30 people at a time.

Outdoor sporting activities such as golf, tennis and water sports will resume from Saturday but will be limited to three hours and within 20 kilometres from your home. Ski resorts will be open from tomorrow, but the slopes will remain closed.

The “attestation” will still be required as proof as to why you are circulating outside of your home and will still allow as at present, an essential visit to assist a person in need or to carry out an essential activity with no limit on time or distance for example going to work.

It would appear that despite confusion over what you can and can’t do, the key to the easing of lockdown measures is to remember that the advice is to “stay at home as much as possible” and to ask yourself “if your reason for leaving home is essential” as part of a collective attempt in the fight against Covid-19 and “in support of those who on a daily basis are on the frontline saving lives”.  

The second phase of the easing of lockdown measures is planned for December 15th, this is only if the number of new cases of Covid-19 is below 5,000 and if the number of patients in intensive care is below 3,000. Should this be the case then from this date cinemas, theatres and museums will reopen, the attestation will be abolished and a curfew from 9pm to 7am introduced. 

As far as Christmas and News Year is concerned it will be necessary to limit the number of guests at Christmas and New Year.

Financial aid - During the press conference the Prime Minister announced the creation of 20,000 student jobs and a guaranteed monthly allowance for a maximum of 484 euros for one year to young people aged 16 to 25 who are "neither in employment, nor studying or in training" and who are "in a financially precarious situation".

For seasonal, event and catering extras who "worked a lot" last year, there will be a "guaranteed income of 900 euros per month" until February 2021. The Minister of Labor, Elisabeth Borne, confirmed that the aid will concern "those who worked more than 60% of the time in 2019" and "who could not work enough in 2020 due to the health crisis.

An additional aid "from 15% to 20%" of turnover will be granted from December to companies in sectors affected by the crisis such as hotels, tourism or events, and whose turnover has fallen "at least by half”.  Jean Castex added that nightclubs would be supported by this new solidarity fund.

Covid-19 - Meanwhile the Minister of Health Olivier Véran affirmed his satisfaction on Thursday saying that there was a new drop in the number of intensive care admissions. Public Health France identified 192 new admissions due to Covid-19 in 24 hours on Thursday, compared to 258 on Wednesday.

While overall health data on the pandemic has shown a slight improvement the Minister of Health recalled that “efforts should not be relaxed”, because the "second wave is not over".

IBM - In its global restructuring IBM is expected to cut 10,000 jobs in Europe. At a meeting on November 20th IBM France announced numbers which remain to be confirmed with between 1,180 to 1,385 positions set to disappear including 100 to 150 in the Alpes Maritimes region. Unions say that they hope the departures will be on a voluntary basis.

It was back in 1962 that IBM established its headquarters in La Gaude in the Alpes Maritimes. The next meeting with unions is planned for December 8th to specify consequences of the restructuration.

Suspension of several police officers filmed beating up a black music producer - France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has ordered the suspension of several police officers who were filmed beating up a black music producer.

Footage posted by the online shows the man, identified only as Michel, being repeatedly beaten as he tried to enter a music studio in Paris.

The incident comes as concern grows over a new French bill that would criminalise filming police. The legislation, which is being pushed by the government, has prompted protests from civil liberties groups and journalists.

In a post of Twitter the minister said that the IGPN police watchdog was investigating the alleged assault, which took place on Saturday as the man was being arrested.

Accents - The French lower house of parliament has approved a law banning discrimination based on a person's accent, calling the practice "a form of racism".

The text, adds accents to the list of causes of actionable discrimination, along